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Sean O'Connor

From "In Condemnation of Apathy"

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Apathy comes from any degree of belief in any of the theories which teach it, whether explicitly or implicitly. Ayn Rand writes “For some two hundred years, under the influence of Immanuel Kant, the dominant trend of philosophy has been directed to a single goal: the destruction of man’s mind, of his confidence in the power of reason. Today we are seeing the climax of that trend.” (“Philosophy: Who Needs It”) One example, she explains, in her essay “Causality Versus Duty” is Kant’s notion of “duty” which she notes is “intrinsically anti-causal” and that “a ‘duty‘ defies the principle of efficient causation-since it is causeless (or supernatural); in its effects, it defies the principle of final causation- since it must be performed regardless of consequences”. The idea that thoughts and actions are fundamentally inconsequential provide no reason, and no motive for an individual to care, i.e., to objectively determine values, and morals, or to identify one’s self as a rational, consequential, productive, valuable entity. How then is a person to determine his or her values, which theoreticians should one look to for guidance, which have been most influential and why? Obviously, given the fact that our political system is veering towards communism, and given the typical explanations claiming to justify our political direction, it is indeed safe to say that Immanuel Kant, as well as Karl Marx, have had a tremendous influence on the majority of people, whether they know it or not. A product of Immanuel Kant’s ideology, which Ayn Rand does not mention too often, is Friedrich Nietzsche, who ironically was unaware of how influenced he was by Kant. Essentially, four theoreticians progressively dismantled the value of the mind and the idea that there is either no reality, or no way of knowing there is a reality or what reality is, which is central to the propagation of apathy. David Hume initiated the atrocity by saying that the best the mind can calculate is probability, and thus, there is no absolute- which is of course a contradiction in terms, because then their could not absolutely be no absolute.).Hume served as Immanuel Kant’s greatest inspiration. As Wikipedia explains, “[Kant] also credited David Hume with awakening him from “dogmatic slumber” (circa 1771).[15] Hume had stated that experience consists only of sequences of feelings, images or sounds. Ideas such as ’cause’, goodness, or objects were not evident in experience, so why do we believe in the reality of these? Kant felt that reason could remove this skepticism, and he set himself to solving these problems.” (http://en.wikipedia....i/Immanuel_Kant; retrieved 4/21/12) He did so by establishing that we are to live for the sake of others out of duty, and that the mind does not indicate anything about reality- which is the evasion metaphysics. Immanuel Kant then served as Arthur Schopenhauer’s great inspiration. Schopenhauer essentially said that everything is an illusion called “maya” and anybody who tells you differently does so because he or she has evil motives, thus Schopenhauer is the quintessential pessimist. Schopenhauer was Friedrich Nietzsche’s great inspiration. Nietzsche said, in essence, that even the concept “evil” is an illusion, and that even the concept “illusion” is merely an indefinite word. Nietzsche did not believe in anything other than whatever served to empower him. The nihilism of Friedrich Nietzsche is the climax of David Hume’s skepticism, the product of which is the anti-concept “post-modernism”, which means truth is what ever each individual deems it to be, and that we must never judge what another person claims to be true because it would be offensive, disrespectful, and lead to conflict. The idea that one should not judge others, or proclaim that truth is absolute makes it quite challenging not to become apathetic. You are lost in a culture of intellectual chaos, and extreme uncertainty, and as I stated earlier, you are tempted either to become an apathetic nihilist or an apathetic altruist. The nihilist is an absurd, and pure whim-worshiper; a freak show, and tends to be an anarchist, not because he or she cares, but because he or she is a pure immoralist, and does not want to be hindered by philosophy, or law. “A rebel without a cause” so to speak. Now just as there are two forms of apathy (nihilistic or altruistic), there are also two forms of altruism. There is apathetic altruism, and there is manipulative altruism. Apathetic altruists simply don’t care that they subordinate themselves to the manipulative altruists- the ones who take complete advantage of the apathetic altruist. For example, John Nicholson is an apathetic altruist (A Nietzschean of sorts), whereas President Barack Obama is a manipulative altruist (A Kantian of sorts).

To those of you who would say my characterization only describes the secularists within American culture, and that, to the contrary, those philosophers I mentioned are of minimal influence in contrast to Jesus Christ, I regret to say that Christianity has become obsolete in America. Approximately 78.4% of Americans claim to be Christian. ( http://en.wikipedia....e_United_States ; 4/21/12) but if we examine cultural trends, do they reflect fundamentalist Christians of pure conviction, i.e., absolutists, or liberal, pragmatic Christians, i.e., non-absolutists influenced by Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer, and/or Nietzsche? In other words, regardless of what the majority of Americans claim to believe, to what extent do they actually care, fundamentally, about what they claim to believe? Are they “Christians” or “apathetics”? The 8th commandment says “you shall not steal” and yet theft is a major trend in this county which is supposedly dominated by Christians. This theft is committed by anyone who supports income taxes and demands government subsidy in any form. These thieves, most of whom claim to be Christian, certainly do not ask for forgiveness. Instead they demand more expropriation! Their latest demands, among the tamest of them, is that anybody who earns an annual income of $1 million or more pay higher taxes than everyone else, that the government allow people who get jobs to continue receiving unemployment funds, and that everybody be forced into purchasing health insurance. Now, in contrast, a Christian is a capitalist by virtue of the eighth commandment. It is obvious that most self proclaimed Christians and thus most of the U.S. population does not care about their philosophy and thus possess weak, apathetic, ever changing minds. These minds are the targets of communists and Islamists.

Now keep in mind that today, America, a country where the majority thinks philosophy is ultimately irrelevant, is in an ideological war against Islamic terrorists. On what basis, since even the concept of a philosophical basis does not matter to most Americans, can those Americans firmly oppose the evil ideas of their enemies? They cannot. We see this inability explicitly articulated by President Barack Obama’s flimsy foreign policy, and extremely unstable staff. (His Secret Service, the GSA, et cetera). And yet, a firm ideology, or the semblance of one, and the ability to articulate it, at least within the menagerie of our government, in the midst of a war on terror and catastrophic debt, is now more crucial than it has been since Americans debated legalized slavery. In an ideological war. i.e, a war between nations of groups of different ideologies, if you are anti-philosophical/apathetic, you will be unable to defend yourself on intellectual grounds- you will lack conviction where as every terrorist has conviction- they know exactly why they’re fighting and can explain themselves. Furthermore, their conviction motivates them. What motivates the majority of Americans? Only the sedation of their apathy. Both the communists and the Islamist terrorists are competing for the role of sedation supplier for the American apathetic. (For eloquent, and detailed analysis of this, I refer you to The Glenn Beck Program).

((You may read the entire essay at http://seanoconnorli...25/hello-world/ ))

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...I regret to say that Christianity has become obsolete in America.

I agree.

What is generally regarded as Christianity today is irrelevant because it is no longer Christianity. It has become immorally weak, sissified, feminised, liberalized, and bureaucratized.

Edited by moralist

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Moralized,

That is a perfect description of "what is generally regarded as Christianity". Oh the hypocrisy of the young woman who wears a cross necklace and sleeps around.

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Moralized,

That is a perfect description of "what is generally regarded as Christianity". Oh the hypocrisy of the young woman who wears a cross necklace and sleeps around.

Exactly. Empty symbolism devoid of meaning.

People who violate moral law under the colors of religion don't invalidate it, they only prove that no one is exempt from its causality. In fact, one of the ten commandments refers to just that... "don't take the name of the Lord in vain". This has nothing to do with spoken profanity. literally translated it is "don't carry the banner of the Lord falsely" or don't do evil in the name of the Lord. It is akin to a bad cop committing crimes in uniform, under the color of his authority. This is especially evil because it causes people to condemn religion as a whole, instead of condemning the person who does evil in its name. Ayn Rand also condemned this hypocracy in the way she portrayed those who held governmental authority in Atlas Shrugged as deceitfully claiming to act "for the good of the people".

My favorite response to criticisms of religious hypocrisy:

"Don't blame Jesus for Christians."

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moralist,

First of all, I apologize for the typo on your name.

This is especially evil because it causes people to condemn religion as a whole, instead of condemning the person who does evil in its name. Ayn Rand also condemned this hypocracy in the way she portrayed those who held governmental authority in Atlas Shrugged as deceitfully claiming to act "for the good of the people".

My favorite response to criticisms of religious hypocrisy:

"Don't blame Jesus for Christians."

You made a profound point here; especially if we are going to have any success in the short term regarding the advancement of freedom in this country since true Christians are capitalists! A true Christian does not even support legislation banning abortion. Instead, the Christian would merely condemn it and insits that people choose not to have abortions because, according to the Bible it is "sinful". I would say we can "condemn religion as a whole" but I don't think we can find religion as a whole "contemptible". "there is a difference between contempt- deeming someone a threat to others and/or deserving of severe punishment/misfortune- and condemnation- expression of complete disapproval- and I assert that everything must be either condemned- if it is illogical- or praised- if it is logical. The reason I say this is because, in reference to the three types of immorality -self destructive, insulting, and violent- those who are self destructive but not insulting or violent have at least some remnant of respect for humanity; thus while they must absolutely be condemned they are not yet contemptible. Once a person becomes insulting and/or violent and thus renounces whatever tiny remnant of respect he or she used to have for humanity he or she thus explicitly confesses and demonstrates the fact that he or she is contemptible; this is evident because if somebody has no respect for humanity he or she can have no respect for him or herself and is in essence saying “I’m contemptible so you are as well! We are all contemptible!”." (from "An Epistle To Dr. Nathaniel Branden")

Excellent quote on Jesus that you cited. I think it is especially excellent since we cannot prove that Jesus uttered a single word he is said to have uttered.

Edited by Sean O'Connor

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I wrote "In Condemnation Of Apathy" because I realized that nothing bothered me more than the rampant apathy in our culture... posted it on my website (then seanoconnoressays.com and now seanoconnorliterature.com), which I persistently promoted on Facebook. I also recorded a video of myself reading the essay and uploaded it onto youtube and promoted that video on Facebook. And of course, I told people I know about the essay and requested that they give it a read. My point here is: I had something to important to say about the problem of apathy and I presented this statement to many people on many forums and I was rather surprised- in hindsight the surprise was due to naivety- how few people deemed an essay with such a title worth reading. After all, our culture is plagued by rampant apathy and it ought to be condemned. This was not even a technical, controversial, metaphysical, epistemological assertion. It is a very blatant problem that people of various ideologies can easily grasp without wavering from their theism or their selective use of their reason. I wonder: is the magnitude of apathy in our culture worse than I thought it was? (I do have to say, I am very pleased with the objectivismonline.com forum. Many of the people on this forum do care, are quite receptive, discuss issues respectfully, and quite intelligently.... (from "An Epistle To Dr. Nathaniel Branden")

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